The Phantom & The Word – Oct. 12, scattered throughout the Hotel

The attack came suddenly, with a twinkle in its eye. Out of nowhere, bits of wisdom and humor began invading the premises, showing up in unlikely places: A quote from Abraham Lincoln – posted in the Hat Check Room; poems by Maya Angelou – taped to a treadmill in the Gym.  A Yogi Berra  classic – stuck to a stained glass window in the Chapel.

When an international dignitary found a monologue from King Lear taped to his toilet seat, a SWAT team of lawyers parachuted in, Hotel Security slammed into action…and bureaucrats huddled up. It was adjudicated that these slices of truth and inspiration were being weaponized against those who enjoyed sleepwalking, or found curiosity burdensome. 

Bob Dylan was Disturbing the Peace. Thomas Jefferson was Damaging Public Property. A $5,000 reward was offered for information leading to the culprit’s arrest. Months later – there were no clues, no suspects, no witnesses. Eventually a nickname rose up to fill the void.

The Ninja of eloquence would be called Quota!

As the rain(reign) of quotes continued, Quota’s legend took on mythic proportions…Quota was a dead poet who wandered the hallsa literary agent from another dimension…on and on. In the end, the Hotel had a celebrity phantom to rival any opera company’s – beloved by most guests, disliked by all Management.

Frustration mounting, officials called a town-hall meeting, everyone invited. Despite best efforts, the true identity of Quota remained unknown, so the law was now focusing on motive. What was she/he trying to do? Why would anyone risk life and limb to harpoon the building with thoughts that forced you to think!!!

Lively debate immediately descended into personal insults…then rabid polarity, dividing people into separate bristling camps. But somewhere in the mix a few folks started laughing about the absurdity of it all…which also caught a little fire.

An hour later, the town-hall meeting had morphed into a high octane blend of street party, bar room brawl and literary discussion group.

The next day, Quota struck again. Waving like a flag from the top of the floating stairway, words from the poet Rumi called out across the entire Hotel:

Let the beauty we love, be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel

and kiss the ground             


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